2012-07-27 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Bayside Of Rockaway Beach Before The Landfill/Bulkheading Of 1923
From The Rockaway Museum by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

The next time you drive west on Beach Channel Drive, between Beach 84 Street and Beach 116 Street, you are driving on solid ground that was pumped there from the bay bottom, in 1923, and paved over.

Look at today’s historical view that features the old Jamaica Bay Yacht Club, and the Fernando Yacht Club on the right. It is low tide in the bay, the Long Island Railroad tracks are on the ground (to the right and out of the picture) the walk out to the clubs is Beach 90 Street now – from the freeway to Beach Channel, and what we know as Beach Channel Drive at present, goes left to right across the center of this historical view. The line from the marsh to Beach Channel is the old Rockaway Beach sewage line that ran into the bay in the old days.

The photo was taken from the Holland Railroad Station, where another walk with houses on each side also ran out into the bay (and is Beach 92 Street now).

The present freeway, from Beach 87 Street to Beach 114 Street, was the Bayfront along which the LIRR ran until the landfill of 1923.

After the landfill, that created many lots of real estate, all boat, yacht, and private clubs were landlocked. The largest of these buildings were converted to hotels, restaurants, and nightspots …but slowly faded away. The old days were over, and the charm that drew thousands to the Rockaways … was gone!

Sometimes, when I really get wrapped up in research on the old days at Rockaway Beach, what I uncover makes it hard to get back into the present time.

Maybe someday, in a Twilight Zone sort of gig!, I might stay in a place I like, and know what is to happen in the future! Hmmmmmmmmmmm!, And what would you like to affect?

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